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What You Need to Know about Greek and Roman Ceramic

Aug 17, 2007
Ceramic has come from a long history of time. With human being has more knowledge and advanced equipment, people start making the development in ceramic making. In this article you will learn the history of ceramic from the Greek time until Roman time.

First to make extensive use of molds were the Greeks, who also developed the use of naturalistic painted decoration. In the Golden Age of Greece, the art of the ceramic painter was so far separated from that of the potter that each was able to put his signature on his portion of the work. The best examples of early Greek pottery often bear the marks of two master craftsmen.

At about 1000 B.C., there was a tremendous upheaval in Greek art. The geometric style of linear decoration crowded ornamentation with repeated rows of figures, triangles, lozenges, circles and zigzags characterize Grecian ceramics of this period. Many of the designs were entirely local. The most elaborate were those of Athens, called Diplynware after the cemetery at the city gate, where the largest vases have been found. There are huge sepulchral jars which bear among the geometric patterns, panels filled with pictures of funerals, corpses surrounded by mourners, and processions of chariots. The stylized human and animal figures were drawn in stark, dramatic, black silhouette.

The next significant developments took place in Italy, after Greece fell to the invading legions of Rome. In the centuries that followed, Greek influence was extremely potent in all Roman art because so many workmen were imported either as colonists or slaves. Much early Italian pottery can be distinguished from the Greek only by a slight difference in the clay. But Rome was to develop its own ceramic art.

The first pure Italian pottery was created from bright red clay still found in the south of the peninsula. When ornamented, the works were molded with relief. Their almost dazzling luster was produced with a thin alkaline glaze which gave an extraordinary depth and richness to the clay colors. The earliest decoration predominantly floral patterns, masks, dances, feasts, battles and other episodes of life was copied heavily from the embossed silverware looted and brought back from Alexandria by Roman soldiers.

Almost from the start, Roman potters cast their works in clay molds, which were prepared mechanically by means of separate stamps. The final artistic effect was therefore dependent upon the potter's imagination and skill.

At about 100 A.D., the Italian art was suddenly eclipsed by the delicate ceramic pieces made in France. Rome still produced its own coarse pottery for ordinary domestic use, unglazed and undecorated, which formed the bulk of ancient ceramics of all periods. But the wealthy class, for whom all fine pottery was manufactured, was won over by the superior craftsmanship and quality offered by the Gallic potters. The colors were more vivid and the clay-paste itself was harder and more durable. Examples of this pottery, called Sigillata, are still excavated all over the Roman world, but most abundantly in central France.

During a period of time, ceramic has made so much progress. As each nation has different culture, ceramic also has gone through different shapes, depend on the culture or the place where the potter lived.
About the Author
Mitch Johnson is a regular writer for http://www.curtains-n-drapes.com/ , http://www.ceramicsmadeez.info/ , http://www.goodbudgetholiday.info/
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